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🐐 A $91M mistake, an ox in the mire, and a goat that eats trash

how solving small problems now prevents big problems later

Today’s post is inspired by Jeff from the3Mix.

Jeff’s been a longtime reader of Habit Examples, and his newsletter is one of the few I never miss!

So I thought it would be fun to write a post structured in a way similar to how Jeff writes his posts.

Hope you enjoy 😄 


⚡️ Estimated read time: 3 minutes 27 seconds.




7eleven paid $91 million dollars to a random dude known as “Carl” for a car accident they didn’t cause.


While Carl was on his way to his local 7eleven gas station, someone parking their car mistook the gas pedal for the brake.

In a split second, the car launched over the curb and straight into Carl, smashing his legs against the building.

Not only would Carl never walk again - he’d never have legs again at all.

But what’s more mind-blowing than the $91MM payout is the simple item that could’ve prevented the incident from ever happening in the first place.


Hora’at Sha’ah.

For Jews, this phrase means you’re allowed to break the rules of Shabbat (the Sabbath) in order to save another Jew’s life.

For some Christians, the biblical phrase “ox in the mire” also implies permission to break the Sabbath day when there’s truly no way around it, such as purchasing medicine for a sick child.

The Christian phrase comes from Luke 14:5, when Christ heals a man on the Sabbath.

Healing a man implied work, and since work is prohibited on the Sabbath, the Pharisees and lawyers threw a fit about it.

Christ responded to them by asking (paraphrased), “If your ox or donkey fell in a hole on Sunday, wouldn’t you immediately pull it out?”

Most people would.

But what if your ox ended up in the same hole every Sunday?


Speaking of animals and Christians, this year marks 50 years since Sister Paula Mary Turnbull, “the Welding Nun”, created Spokane’s “garbage goat” for the World Fair.

4/24/1974 photo. Photo Archive/The Spokesman-Review. (SR)

It’s a copper and brass goat sculpture that will eat pretty much anything you can fit in it’s mouth.

My kids love saving their napkins and wrappers from our fast food dinner to “feed” to the garbage goat.

You hold up any small-ish piece of trash, and a powerful suction turns on that sucks it through the goat and into a dumpster a few feet away.

Why would the city of Spokane, Washington spend taxpayer dollars on a trash-sucking copper goat?


What could’ve prevented Carl from losing his legs to the 7eleven accident, and saved 7eleven from having to pay $91MM in settlement fees?

A bollard.

It’s those metal poles you often see in front of storefronts or gas stations.

Their sole purpose is to prevent the exact kind of accident Carl quite literally “got in the middle of”.

And 7eleven is no stranger to these accidents — it turns out, a car crashes into a 7eleven gas station every. single. day.

No joke.

As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, a car will also hit another 7eleven.

Part of this is due to the sheer quantity of 7elevens at 84,500 total worldwide, combined with the statistical frequency of this type of accident with any building.

But alas, the lack of an $800 hunk of metal posted in front of every storefront parking spot cost the chain 11,625,000% more than that.


“If the ox is in the mire every Sunday, we strongly recommend you sell the ox or fill the mire.”

Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints shared this metaphor with church members in a 2019 worldwide conference.

He was addressing the fact that some believers seem to commandeer the “ox in the mire” phrase to justify all kinds of Sabbath day dilly-dallying.

Excuses that might be valid when used sparingly, creep in to become regularly weekly habits.

If and when they do, “sell the ox or fill the mire”.

In other words, make the necessary changes to avoid your recurring obstacles.


In a world where most cities struggle to get their citizens to avoid littering, the garbage goat has consumed over 14,000 cubic yards of trash since 1974.

Apparently, feeding a metal goat is more fun than littering!

The US alone spends $11.5 billion dollars cleaning up litter every year… imagine if every city had garbage goats?

Sure, it’s not practical to have them everywhere. Sure, it wouldn’t stop ALL littering.

But you can bet your bottom dollar there’d be a whole heck of a lot less of it!

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A $91 million dollar mistake.

An ox in a hole.

And a goat that eats trash.

Sometimes in life we neglect taking small actions that could have prevented big, repeated issues in our life.

Bad habits that could be solved by one intentional action.

A bollard could have saved a man his legs and a company heaps of cash.

“Filling a hole” can keep your metaphorical ox out of trouble.

A fun place to throw your trash away reduces littering.

What small change in your life could prevent some of the challenges you’re currently facing?

It might be getting rid of junk food from the house, waking up 2 hours earlier, or deleting that addicting app from your phone.

Whatever it is… don’t wait till it gets so bad that you’re forced to deal with it.

Cause you can either solve it when you want to, solve it when you have to, or deal with the cost of never solving it at all.

The choice is yours!

What ideas popped in your head while reading? Hit reply and let me know!



🎶 Stronger. (song)

🍔 How long it ACTUALLY takes to burn off a Big Mac (YouTube)

📉 How to prepare for when motivation is low (Tweet)

😂 How to be productive when you have no self control (Tweet)

🚦 Overcoming the impossibility of amazing (1 minute read)

🐿️ Not all distractions are bad. (Habit Example from 1 year ago)



Oh my gosh! Mommy bought us brownie brittle?

She DEFINITELY loves us! Mommy definitely loves us!

— My 5-year old



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- Kody


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P.S. These take 5 hours to research, write, and design. It only takes you 5 seconds to share.